[Breakingthesilence] small workshop ideas

Kev Smith kevin.smith at gmx.net
Mer 14 Juil 15:41:05 CEST 2004

hello people,
I have taken these (along with one or two of the texts) from the very
excellent schools of the americas website, which has a really good section
on addressing different forms of domination.... sexism, racism, classism,
ageism etc..... it is really great
check it at http://www.soaw.org/new/article.php?id=530

Anyway, here are two very simple gender based excercises that may or may not
be useful.... it might be good to break up more analytical or discussion
heavy sessions with these exercises. I was also thinking of mayeb including
these in the reader.


 Learning Social Roles: Boy/Girl Piece


This activity continues self-reflective processes as participants write and
share short pieces about how their gender identities were affected through
childhood messages about what it meant to be a boy or a girl (also adaptible
for race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, religion, and other
identifiers). This activity can be used to introduce a discussion on gender
issues, setting the groundwork for maintining a focus on talking about
issues from one's own experience instead of their perceptions of the
experiences of "those people."

Preparing and Assigning:

Ask participants to write a short (1 - 2 page) reflective piece on their
childhood memories and experiences which helped shape their gender
identities. (You may need to assign this during a meeting or two prior to
when you want to facilitate a conversation about it.) Ask them to address
what messages they received as children about what it meant to be a "boy" or
a "girl." Also, ask them to discuss who sent those messages (parents,
teachers, coaches, other kids, etc.). Be clear that this is not to be an
academic piece, but a reflective effort regarding their own experiences.

Facilitator Notes:

In order to ensure that everybody has an opportunity to share her or his
story, break into diverse small groups of 8-10 if necessary. Give
participants the option to either read their pieces or to share their pieces
and reflections from memory. Ask for volunteers to share their stories.

Questions to facilitate a discussion after everyone has shared:

   1. Have you ever systematically considered how you developed your gender
   2. How is your gender identity still informed or affected by your
experiences growing up?
   3. What messages do you send to others regarding what it means to be a
"boy" or a "girl"?
   4. How did (has) your schooling play into your understanding of what it
meant (means) to be a boy or a girl?
   5. Have you ever been ridiculed for doing or saying something that others
didn't consider "masculine" or "feminine"? How did that make you feel? How
did you react?
   6. Have you ever ridiculed someone else for doing something you didn't
consider "masculine" or "feminine"? 

Points to remember:

   1. Because some individuals will include very personal information, some
may be hesitant to read their work, even in the small groups. It is
sometimes effective in such situations for facilitators to share their
pieces first. Consider sharing your piece when you give this assignment. If
you make yourself vulnerable, others will be more comfortable doing the
   2. Be sure to allow time for everyone to be able to speak, whether
reading their poems or sharing them from memory. 

 The Benefits of Being Male Exercise

By Paul Kivel ~ www.paulkivel.com/Exercises/Benefits_male.htm

Please stand up (or if unable to stand, raise your hand to indicate) if:

1. Your forefathers, including your father had more opportunities to advance
themselves economically than your foremothers.

2. Your father had more educational opportunities than your mother.

3. The boys in your extended family, including yourself had more financial
resources, emotional support or encouragement for pursuing academic, work or
career goals than the girls.

4. You live in or went to a school district where the textbooks and other
classroom materials reflected men as normal, heroes and builders of the
United States, and there was little mention of the contributions of women to
our society.

5. You attend or attended a school where boys were encouraged to take math
and science, called on more in class, and given more attention and funding
for athletic programs than girls.

6. You received job training, educational or travel opportunities from
serving in the military.

7. You received job training in a program where there were few or no women,
or where women were sexually harassed.

8. You have received a job, job interview, job training or internship
through personal connections with other men.

9. You worked or work in a job where women made less for doing comparable
work or did more menial jobs.

10. You work in a job, career or profession, or in an agency or organization
in which there are few women in leadership positions, or the work has less
status because women are in leadership positions.

11. You live in a city or region in which domestic violence, sexual assault
are serious problems for women.

12. You generally feel safe when hiking in the woods, in the mountains, on
the beach or in other rural settings. (this one will obviously exclude most
men of color).

13. When You turn on the TV you can routinely see men in positions of
leadership, male sports, men portrayed as heroes and in a wide variety of
other roles.

14. When you have medical procedures done to you, or take prescribed
medicines and otherv health treatments you can assume they were tested and
proven safe on men.

15. You have seen or heard men in positions of authority belittle women's
contributions, women's writing or music, women's intelligence, or physical
strength, or make other comments about women being inferior to men.

16. You know where you can have access to sex from women for money in the
city or region where you live.

17. You can have access to sexually revealing images of women easily,
whenever you want them from magazines, the Internet, bookstores, video
stores or pornography outlets.

18. You have taken advantage of women earning much less than you do for
childcare, cooking, cleaning, clerical services, nursing, or other services.

19. In your family women do more of the housecleaning, cooking, childcare,
washing or other caretaking than you or other men do.

20. Most of the clothes you wear have been made by women who are paid little
for their work.

21. The computers and other electronic products you use are made by
underpaid women in this and other countries.

22. In your community it is harder for women to get housing loans, small
business loans, agricultural loans or car loans than it is for men of
similar qualifications.

23. In your community women are routinely charged more for haircutting,
cleaning, cars, or other services or products.

24. You don't need to think about gender and sexism everyday. You can decide
when and where you deal with it. 

I'm not using my eyfa email address anymore
please update your addressbook accordingly, innit

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